Preparing your tax return may seem like a daunting task but it doesn’t need to be complicated or stressful. It just needs to be accurate. The best way to beat tax planning stress is to give yourself plenty of time to work through the tax forms.
Remember, you don’t have to do everything yourself or pay hefty charges for getting help.
A range of non-profits and local Internal Revenue Service offices provide tax assistance to the public for FREE.
Here are some of the free tax assistance options that you can choose from:
1. Taxpayer Assistance Center
The Internal Revenue Services’ help with free tax preparation services at the Taxpayer Assistance Center.This center is also a great place to get help with understanding IRS correspondence, receive payments, and also get computerized printouts of income documents or tax returns, and answer queries. You can locate a taxpayer assistance center here.
2. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance or the VITA Program
This excellent program offers free tax help to people who earn $50,000 or less and require help in preparing their tax returns. At these centers, IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation to qualified individuals in local communities.
According to the VITA site, “They can inform taxpayers about special tax credits for which they may qualify such as Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, and Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled.”
You can find VITA sites at community centers, libraries, schools, malls, and other easily accessible locations. You can access the VITA site here or find a local VITA site by calling toll-free 1-800-906-9887.
3. The Armed Forces Tax Council
This body of volunteers provides free tax preparation assistance for military personnel and is a part of the IRS-funded VITA program. Volunteers at the AFTC are especially trained in tax issues that people in the Forces face. If you’re in the military or any of the other forces and need help in preparing your returns, you can get more details on this program here.
4. The TCE program or Tax Counseling for Elderly
This program offers free tax help for all however, it offers ,”priority assistance to people who are 60 years of age and older, specializing in questions about pensions and retirement issues unique to seniors.” If you have a parent, aunt or uncle or even, an elderly neighbor who needs tax assistance, call 1-888-227-7669 for more information on TCE and they’ll be happy to walk them through the whole process.
5. Tax-Aide from AARP
The AARP or American Association of Retired Persons is an organization that helps people age 50 and over in a variety of ways. This tax planning program or Tax Aide is one of those ways and provides free consultation for people and functions in the same way as the VITA and Tax Counselling for the Elderly. You can find a local Tax-Aide site here .
6. Low-Income Tax Clinics
These tax clinics offer free or low-cost assistance to taxpayers and help, “resolve tax problems such as income tax audits and collection disputes over outstanding tax balances.” Tax clinics can also be your go-to resource should you need legal representation in a Tax Court. Tax Clinics also provide assistance to people whose primary language is other than English. You can get more information on current clinics here.
7. The Taxpayer Advocate Service
This service helps you to resolve any tax issues that the IRS has not succeeded in resolving. Luckily for you, the Taxpayer Advocate is an autonomous organization from the IRS and reports directly to Congress. You can contact them toll-free at 1-877-777-4778 or by accessing their website.
What free resources have you used for tax planning?